Explore the most popular wildlife trails in San Isabel National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Very beautiful this time of year! Lake is thawed and hardly any snow

I really enjoyed this hike. The trail was well maintained and easy to follow. My favorite view was when we came out of the trees and into a meadow area. Beautiful!

Great trail, beautiful scenery. Friendly people. You can primitive camp near the trailhead in BLM land for free!!!

what a lovely hike! hidden flowers along the way, hummingbirds, a creek, and the falls were amazing!

The falls were beautiful this time of year. First mile is a little tough but the second half is worth the climb!

Blocked by waist deep soft snow about 1.3 miles in. Will try again as the grade makes for a great hike up.

hiking
6 days ago

Still a lot of snow as of 5/14 right after the turn for the pass. Post holed for over a mile before turning back. First part of the trail has no snow. Still offered some amazing views!

Done in May with no snow. Great moderate trail with lots of tree coverage so you're not in the sun for most of it. The start is the toughest part because of the initial incline and lack of shade but after 15-20 minutes it's very easy and doable. Great spots to picnic by the falls.

We made it just above the boulder field in August, 2017. We made the mistake as other have, of starting from the Young Life parking lot. Makes for a very long hike. We’re going back for more this summer and hoping to summit- driving up to the cell tower. Reached the summit at 16 when I was much younger and didn’t know it was tough. Oh, the ignorance of youth!

Beautiful trail with amazing views!! When I went in mid May there was very little traffic. The trail was very well maintained and the people on the trail were very respectful of nature (we didn’t see any dog poo or trash which is rare for a nice trail in CO). It starts out with a decent incline then after about a mile (if even) it flattens out. I would highly recommend!

If you hate nature, beautiful views, well maintained trails, a bit of a challenge, and friendly people along the way - and would rather post hole all day, soaking the insides of those new boots, this trail won’t be for you.

If however you enjoy all these things, less the snow to the knees, this is a perfect spring hike, enjoy!

hiking
10 days ago

still lots of snow on the trail... if you don't mind cold wet feet and post holing to your hip, it is stunningly beautiful right now. wildflowers peaking out of snow and lots of snow melt runoff making the creek roar. made it to creek crossing, but too much snow and creek running too high to safely make it across. met a wonderful young couple along the way, thanks Sofia and Kevin (Cooper & Barrett too

Still impassable with snow up to your hips. Only made it s few yards before turning back. Definitely need to wait until June for the snow to melt more.

hiking
15 days ago

Summited this early September as my first fourteener and it is one of my favorite hikes to date. I camped at one of the sites along the road to the trailhead and met our group at the trailhead the next morning. Definitely needed a 4wd vehicle with some ground clearance to drive up to the "official" trailhead. First half of the hike was tree covered which kept temps cool. Second half was mostly above treeline. There was a great flat section midway through with a lake perfect for cooling off. The dogs in our group took advantage of this. Switchbacks lead up to the final ascent which is a pretty challenging but well marked scramble over loose rocks. Views from the top are prime! Overall a moderately difficult hike as far as fourteeners go.

Was an amazing time. Amazing hiking with some amazing scenery.

backpacking
16 days ago

Not what I would describe as an easy hike, however, incredibly rewarding. VERY steep in places especially from tree line to the first peak. From that point on elevation change is very manageable but there is a lot of scrambling over rocks. Our group is from Kansas so thin air was a challenge and we did fight some altitude sickness. Nonetheless, our group aged 40, 17, 16, 11 made it to the top and back with minimal trouble. Trail head to summit took us 7 hours and descent took 4 hours. Just below tree line we did have to battle some snow. Finding the trail reentering tree line was a bit difficult but I was warned about that so we just took our time.

hiking
16 days ago

5/5/18. Some places near the top still had snow in the path but was completely able to finish in hiking shoes. The rock face to the south as you hike the valley is stunning and the spring runoff was flowing. The waterfall was barely off the path to the lake. The lake itself was beautiful and jumping in was very cold. Overall was a tough hike but well worth the time.

hiking
22 days ago

Beautiful trail, I went up to the lakes yesterday 4/28. After venable falls the trail is snowed out most of the way. I used alltrails offline maps & the sound of venable creek to navigate up to the lakes.

hiking
23 days ago

Moderate my $%#@!!!! While the first 2-3 miles are a lovely stroll in the woods, once you hit treeline for the hike to the summit, the trail can best be described as somewhat vertical; more of an eroding set of social trails than most 14ers I've been on; relentingly steep with patches of loose talus and challenging footing; and a risk to the ankles. If you're going to do it, I might suggest hiking poles. I never use them but I think they would have been worthwhile. It's one of the worst "trails" I've been on in over 25 years of hiking and backpacking in Colorado. Nice view though!

hiking
28 days ago

This trail is heavily wooded and has a bit of downed timber. Not a super easy hike, but very enjoyable none the less. The 6.5 miles in is well rewarded once you reach the creek and cabin at the end of the trail. Great place for an overnight trip, but doable in a single day. I hiked this trail yesterday in 2.5 hours round trip.

camping
1 month ago

Can you camp overnight on this trail?

We walked this on an afternoon in mid April just as the snow melt was accelerating. This is one of our favourite hikes we've done in a long time; the views throughout the trail are incredible, and the variation in plants and wildlife is amazing.

I'd call this a low-moderate trail. Yes, there is a steep and strenuous climb at the start, but it is not technical and has no scary drops. Beyond that it's just a beautiful walk in the woods that gets easier - and better - as it goes on. Even with endless bird watching and a 40 minute stop at the end, it took us under 4 hours total, so I'd encourage people who are fighting fit to look into the lake route (double this one) and make a full day of it. We were sad we couldn't go further.

Saw a Hairy Woodpecker, plenty of lovely little Mountain Chickadees, some Townsend Solitaires, the lovely Dark Eyed Junco and some very cute little critters running about the wood piles!

The waterfall is incredible - well worth getting to.

Would it be a mistake to drive a Nissan Altima the 1.8 miles to the Upper Trailhead?
I’ve watched videos and the road does not look too bad. On the other hand if I got stuck it would be
bad. On the bright side walking the 1.8 miles would be a good warm up. All comments appreciated.
Thank You.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful area and not very busy on a Saturday morning or afternoon.

Most of the trail had tree cover, sunscreen optional.

Some of the trail near the 3 mile mark was hard to follow due to all the downed trees.

Did the trail in April and did run into some snow/ice, however easy to get around it.

If you are a backpacker, saw two camping spots, marked them both on my recordings with pictures.

AllTrails does not have a way to communicate with other outdoor enthusiast, I can be reached on Facebook Messenger if you have any questions about this trail.

When I was a kid I helped build that cabin. Loved hanging out up there for a few days at a time during summer.

The trail was beautiful, it was challenging, but not overly difficult. Unfortunately, I think we went a little too early in the season. About 2miles in, it just got so muddy. We decided to turn back & try again in a few months.

Very easy path to follow. Hardly any snow until just the end of the trail getting to the falls— spiked aren’t necessary but were helpful on the way down. Used the “getting there” feature from this app and it was totally wrong. Found directions to the trailhead from a dif site. Gorgeous views of the surrounding ranges and great workout! Glad we found this gem.

03/16: Drove from 800 ft elevation in mid west, stayed overnight in Leadville and started hike early morning from south Mount Elbert trailhead parking (paved road from Leadville). Usual south trail was closed for renovations and there was a new trail that shoots off of the colorado trail further north. Follow the posted directions on the Colorado trail. Just wore winter hiking boots for most part of the hike but there was about a mile stretch where I had use snowshoes. At the tree line left my snow shoes and used only hiking poles there on. The wind grew stronger as I climbed further and had to wear balaclava. The views at the summit are just amazing. It was definitely worthy.

Loved it

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